DE112009003495T5 - Apparatus and method for measuring six degrees of freedom - Google Patents

Apparatus and method for measuring six degrees of freedom

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Publication number
DE112009003495T5
DE112009003495T5 DE112009003495T DE112009003495T DE112009003495T5 DE 112009003495 T5 DE112009003495 T5 DE 112009003495T5 DE 112009003495 T DE112009003495 T DE 112009003495T DE 112009003495 T DE112009003495 T DE 112009003495T DE 112009003495 T5 DE112009003495 T5 DE 112009003495T5
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DE
Germany
Prior art keywords
assembly
laser
tracking system
target
pattern
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
DE112009003495T
Other languages
German (de)
Inventor
Robert E. Bridges
John M. Hoffer
Brown Lawrence B.
Ackley Kevin R.
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Faro Technologies Inc
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Faro Technologies Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US11513608P priority Critical
Priority to US61/115,136 priority
Application filed by Faro Technologies Inc filed Critical Faro Technologies Inc
Priority to PCT/US2009/064758 priority patent/WO2010057169A2/en
Publication of DE112009003495T5 publication Critical patent/DE112009003495T5/en
Withdrawn legal-status Critical Current

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01CMEASURING DISTANCES, LEVELS OR BEARINGS; SURVEYING; NAVIGATION; GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS; PHOTOGRAMMETRY OR VIDEOGRAMMETRY
    • G01C15/00Surveying instruments or accessories not provided for in groups G01C1/00 - G01C13/00
    • G01C15/002Active optical surveying means
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01BMEASURING LENGTH, THICKNESS OR SIMILAR LINEAR DIMENSIONS; MEASURING ANGLES; MEASURING AREAS; MEASURING IRREGULARITIES OF SURFACES OR CONTOURS
    • G01B11/00Measuring arrangements characterised by the use of optical means
    • G01B11/02Measuring arrangements characterised by the use of optical means for measuring length, width or thickness
    • G01B11/03Measuring arrangements characterised by the use of optical means for measuring length, width or thickness by measuring coordinates of points
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S17/00Systems using the reflection or reradiation of electromagnetic waves other than radio waves, e.g. lidar systems
    • G01S17/66Tracking systems using electromagnetic waves other than radio waves
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S5/00Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations
    • G01S5/16Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations using electromagnetic waves other than radio waves
    • G01S5/163Determination of attitude
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S1/00Beacons or beacon systems transmitting signals having a characteristic or characteristics capable of being detected by non-directional receivers and defining directions, positions, or position lines fixed relatively to the beacon transmitters; Receivers co-operating therewith
    • G01S1/70Beacons or beacon systems transmitting signals having a characteristic or characteristics capable of being detected by non-directional receivers and defining directions, positions, or position lines fixed relatively to the beacon transmitters; Receivers co-operating therewith using electromagnetic waves other than radio waves

Abstract

A laser tracking system for measuring six degrees of freedom may include a main optics assembly arranged to emit a first laser beam, a pattern projector assembly arranged to emit a second laser beam formed into a two-dimensional pattern, and a target. The target may include a retroreflector and a position sensor assembly. A center of symmetry of the retroreflector may be provided on a plane other than a plane of the position sensor arrangement. A method of measuring the orientation of a target may include illuminating the target with a laser beam having a two-dimensional pattern, capturing the position of the two-dimensional pattern on a position sensor array to produce a measured signature value of the two-dimensional pattern, and calculating an orientation of the target based on the measured signature value.

Description

  • REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of US Provisional Application No. 61 / 115,136, filed on Nov. 11, 2008, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • The present invention relates to a coordinate measuring apparatus. A set of coordinate measuring devices belongs to an instrument class that measures three-dimensional (3D) coordinates of a point by sending a laser beam to the point. The laser beam may impinge directly on the spot or may strike a retroreflector target in contact with the spot. In any case, the instrument determines the coordinates of the point by measuring the distance and the two angles to the target. The distance is measured by a distance measuring device such as an absolute range finder or an interferometer. The angles are measured with an angle measuring device such as an angle encoder. A gimbal control mechanism within the instrument directs the laser beam to the point of interest. Exemplary systems for determining coordinates of a point are in the U.S. Patent No. 4,790,651 Brown et al. and the U.S. Patent No. 4,714,339 by Lau et al. described.
  • The laser tracking is a particular type of coordinate measuring device that tracks the retroreflector target with one or more emitted laser beams. A coordinate measuring machine closely related to the laser tracker is the laser scanner. The laser scanner directs one or more laser beams at points on a diffuse surface.
  • Normally the laser tracking sends a laser beam to a retroreflector target. One common type of retroreflector target is the spherically mounted retroreflector (SMR), which includes a cube-corner retroreflector embedded within a metallic ball. The Cube Corner Retroreflector includes three mutually perpendicular mirrors. The vertex, which is the common intersection of the three mirrors, is in the center of the sphere. Due to this arrangement of the cube corner within the sphere, the perpendicular distance from the vertex remains constant to any surface on which the SMR rests, even when the SMR is rotated. Thus, laser tracking can measure the 3D coordinates of a surface by tracking the position of an SMR as it is moved across the surface. In other words, laser tracing for measuring only requires three degrees of freedom (one radial distance and two angles) to fully characterize the 3D coordinates of a surface.
  • Nevertheless, there are measurements in which six, rather than just three, degrees of freedom are needed. Here are examples of four such measurements: (1) a six-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) tracker measures the location of a probe tip that is outside of the tracker's view through an intermediate object; (2) a 6-DOF tracer follows the movement of a scanning device that measures 3D coordinates using a light pattern; (3) a 6-DOF tracker finds orientation as well as the position of a robot end effector or similar rigid body; and (4) a 6-DOF tracer measures fine-object features using a fine probe tip rather than a large spherical surface of an SMR.
  • Some systems based on laser trackers are available or have been proposed for measuring six degrees of freedom. In one system, a camera and a laser tracker with a target with a retroreflector and multiple spots of light are used. Exemplary examples are in the US Patent 5973788 by Pettersen et al. and the U.S. Patent 6,166,809 by Pettersen et al. described.
  • In a second system, the target is held nearly perpendicular to the tracking laser beam by means of a motorized or manual adjustment. A beam splitter in the target sends some of the incident laser light to a position detector which determines the angle of inclination and yaw of the target. The rest of the light goes to a retroreflector. Some of the reflected light passes to a Jocharizing beam splitter, to detectors, and to electronics that determines the target roll angle. The remaining light returns to the tracker. An exemplary system is through the U.S. Patent 7230689 described by Lau.
  • A third system is the same as the second system, except that the roll sensor is replaced with a level sensor that measures the skew of the target relative to gravity. An exemplary system is in the U.S. Patent 7230689 described by Lau.
  • In a fourth system, the tracker measures the position of a corner-of-the-corner retroreflector even during the partitioning of some of the returning light and the transmission to a photosensitive field for analysis. The photosensitive field reads marks, deliberately left on the retroreflector. These marks can z. B. lines of intersection of the three cube-corner reflection planes. The tilt, yaw, and roll angles of the retroreflector can be found by analyzing the pattern displayed on the field. An exemplary system is in the US Patent 5267014 described by Prenninger.
  • In a fifth system, an opening is cut into the vertex of the cube-corner retroreflector. Light passing through the aperture strikes a position detector, thereby providing the tilt and yaw angles of the target. The roll angle is found by one of the three means. In the first means, a camera mounted on the tracker measures illuminated spots of light near the retroreflector. In the second means, a light source mounted on the tracker emits light over a relatively wide angle which is picked up by a position detector. In the third means, a light source mounted on the tracker sends a laser stripe to the target. The strip is picked up by one or more linear fields. An exemplary embodiment is in U.S. Patent 7,312,862 by Zumbrunn et al. described.
  • Each of these systems for obtaining 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) with a laser tracker has disadvantages. The first system uses a camera to see multiple LEDs near a retroreflector target. A commercial system of this kind, which is currently available, has a camera mounted on top of a tracker. A motorized zenith axle pivots the camera and a motorized zoom lens focuses the light points. These motorized features are complicated and expensive.
  • In some embodiments of the second system, a two-axis mechanical servo mechanism holds the target back toward the tracker. In other embodiments, the user manually directs the destination toward the tracker. In a first example, this embodiment is complicated and expensive, and in a second example this embodiment is impractical for the user. In addition, the second system uses a Jocharizing beam splitter, which must be perpendicular to the laser beam for high Jocharisierungskontrast. For this reason, the performance in a hand-held system tends to deteriorate.
  • In the third system, level sensors respond to slope (a gravity effect) and acceleration in the same way. Thus, if a tilt sensor is placed in a hand-held probe, the resulting accelerations may be misinterpreted by a hand movement as a sensor tilt. To overcome this problem, level sensor manufacturers sometimes insert damping mechanisms (such as damping fluid) to slow down the response. Such a damped tilt sensor is slow to respond to roll angle changes, which is undesirable.
  • The fourth system, which reflects light directly from a beam splitter to a photosensitive field to see lines on a cube corner, is limited in field depth before the line images on the field are smeared and twisted.
  • The fifth system requires that an opening be cut in the retroreflector, thereby somewhat degrading the performance of the retroreflector. It places a position detector behind the aperture, which may be a photosensitive field or a position sensitive detector (PSD). This aperture is only moderately precise in the case of the PSD, and relatively slow in the case of the photosensitive field. In addition, the system attaches one of three additional resources on the tracker. All three means, as described above, are complicated and expensive.
  • In view of these limitations, there is a need today for a laser tracking-based 6-DOF measurement system that is simple, inexpensive, and precise.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • At least one embodiment of a laser tracking system for measuring six degrees of freedom, wherein the system may include a tracking unit and includes a target. The tracking target may include a payload assembly that is rotatable about at least one axis. The payload assembly may include a main optics assembly arranged to emit a first laser beam and a pattern projector assembly arranged to emit a second laser beam shaped into a two-dimensional pattern. The target may include a retroreflector and a position sensor assembly provided near the retroreflector. A center of symmetry of the retroreflector is provided with a plane other than a plane of the position sensor arrangement.
  • At least one embodiment of a pattern projector assembly for use in a laser tracking system for measuring six degrees of freedom may include a laser arranged to emit a laser beam, a beam expander adapted to expand the second Laser beam is divided, and a shaping element, which is divided to form the expanded second laser beam into a two-dimensional pattern.
  • At least one embodiment of a target for use with the laser tracking system for measuring six degrees of freedom may include a retroreflector and a position sensor assembly located near the retroreflector. A center of symmetry of the retroreflector is disposed on a plane other than a plane of the position sensor array.
  • At least one embodiment of a method of measuring an orientation of a target may include providing the target with a retroreflector and a position sensor assembly provided near the retroreflector, wherein a center of symmetry of the retroreflector is provided on a plane other than a plane of the position sensor assembly; Illuminating the target with a laser beam forming a two-dimensional pattern; Including a position of the two-dimensional pattern on the position sensor array to produce a measured signature value of the pattern orientation; including an iterative comparison of the measured signature value with a theoretical signature value; and calculating an orientation of the target from the measured signature value when a difference between the measured signature value and the theoretical signature value satisfies a convergence criterion.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Exemplary embodiments are shown with reference to the drawings, which are not intended to be limiting with respect to the entire scope of the disclosure and in which the elements are identically named in some FIGURES.
  • 1 Fig. 12 is a perspective view of an exemplary six-degree-of-freedom tracking system; and
  • 2 Fig. 10 is an exploded view of an exemplary tracking unit;
  • 3 FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary tracking unit; FIG. and
  • 4 Fig. 10 is a block diagram of an exemplary payload arrangement; and
  • 5 FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an exemplary payload assembly and exemplary target; FIG. and
  • 6 Fig. 10 is a plan view of an exemplary pattern projector; and
  • 7 Fig. 10 is a side view of an exemplary pattern projector; and
  • 8th is an exemplary transmission pattern of an exemplary apodizer; and
  • 9 Fig. 13 is a three-dimensional diagram showing an exemplary beam pattern of a propagating laser beam following an apodizer; and
  • 10 Fig. 13 is a three-dimensional diagram showing an exemplary beam pattern of a propagating laser beam after 30 m beam path; and
  • 11A and 11B Fig. 3 are schematic top and side views of components of an exemplary target for angles of incidence of 0 and 45 degrees, respectively; and
  • 12A and 12B Fig. 3 are schematic top and side views of components of an exemplary target for angles of incidence of 0 and 45 degrees, respectively; and
  • 13A - 13K 12 are schematic top and side views of components of an exemplary 45 degree angle of incidence target. with tilt directions that vary in 10-degree increments from the total yaw angle to the total tilt angle.
  • 14 Fig. 10 is a graph showing an error characteristic of a possible embodiment.
  • 15 shows an exemplary method for calculating the signature of a laser pattern on position detectors.
  • 16 shows an exemplary iterative method for calculating a position on a probe tip.
  • 17 shows a perspective view of a laser tracking system with at least two camera arrays
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • As in 1 An exemplary six-degree-of-freedom (6DOF) tracking system may be shown 1000 a tracking unit 100 , a target 400 , a power supply / control unit 10 and a computer 20 include. Six degrees of freedom can z. The x, y, z coordinates and the pitch, roll and yaw angles of a target 400 be.
  • The tracking unit 100 can be an azimuth arrangement 110 , a zenith arrangement 140 and a payload arrangement 170 include. The azimuth arrangement 110 is stationary with respect to the stand on which it is mounted. The zenith arrangement 140 rotates about the azimuth axis 510 , and the payload arrangement 170 revolves around the zenith axis 520 , In addition, since the payload arrangement 170 at the zenith arrangement 140 fixed, it turns around the azimuth axis 510 as well as the zenith axis 520 ,
  • The power supply / control unit 10 provides energy for the tracking unit 100 and can also provide control and calculation functions. The computer 20 can use a variety of software packages to analyze and display data.
  • The goal 400 includes a retroreflector 410 , a position sensor arrangement 430 , a sensor body 450 , a feeler pin 460 , a feeler tip 470 , a locator mark 480 , Electronics (not shown), and a battery (not shown). The locator mark 480 is in 5 shown. The position sensor arrangement 430 includes position detectors 432 and optical filters 434 , Elements of the goal 400 are rigidly attached to each other. A laser beam 550 is through the tracking unit 100 sent out and cuts the retroreflector 410 and the position detectors 432 ,
  • AZIMUTE AND ZENIT ASSEMBLY
  • Details of the tracking unit 100 are in the exploded arrangement in 2 and in cross section in 3 shown. The azimuth arrangement 110 includes a work enclosure 112 , an azimuth encoder arrangement 120 , lower and upper azimuth bearings 114A . 114B , an azimuth motor arrangement 125 , an azimuth slip ring arrangement 130 and azimuth boards 135 ,
  • The purpose of the azimuth encoder arrangement 120 is the precise measurement of the rotation angle of the yoke housing 142 in terms of the operating housing 112 , The azimuth encoder arrangement 120 includes an encoder disc 121 and a reading head assembly 122 , The encoder disc 121 is on the shaft of the yoke housing 142 attached, and the reading head arrangement 122 is at the stationary operating arrangement 110 attached. The reading head arrangement 122 includes a printed circuit board on which one or more read heads are mounted. Laser light is sent from the read heads and to fine ridge lines on the encoder disk 121 reflected. The reflected light is picked up by decoders on the encoder read head or encoder read heads and processed to find out the rotation angle of the encoder disk relative to the rigid read heads.
  • The azimuth engine arrangement 125 includes an azimuth motor rotor 126 and an azimuth motor stator 127 , The azimuth motor rotor includes permanent magnets that are directly on the shaft of the yoke housing 142 are attached. The azimuth motor stator 127 includes field windings that generate a given magnetic field. This magnetic field interacts with the magnets of the azimuth motor rotor 126 together to produce the desired rotational motion. The azimuth motor stator 127 is at the operating frame 112 fixed
  • The azimuth circuit boards 135 are one or more printed circuit boards that provide electrical functions required by the azimuth components such as encoder or motor. The azimuth slip ring arrangement 130 includes an outer part 131 and an inner part 132 , A wire bundle 138 occurs from the power supply / control unit 10 and can direct energy to the tracker or signals to or from the tracker. Some of the wires of the wire bundle 138 may be directed to terminals on the circuit boards. In the in 3 As shown, wires become the azimuth boards 135 , the encoder read head assembly 122 and the azimuth motor assembly 125 directed. Other wires become the inner part 132 the slip ring arrangement 130 directed. The inner part 132 is at the operating layout 110 attached and thus remains stationary. The outer part 131 is at the yoke arrangement 140 attached and therefore rotates relative to the inner part 132 , The slip ring arrangement 130 is designed to allow electrical contact with a low impedance when the outer part 131 with reference to the inner part 132 rotates.
  • The zenith arrangement 140 includes a yoke housing 142 , a zenith encoder arrangement 150 , left and right zenith camps 144A . 144B , a zenith engine assembly 155 , a zenith slip ring arrangement 160 and a zenith circuit board 165 ,
  • The purpose of the zenith encoder arrangement 150 is the precise measurement of the rotation angle of the payload frame 172 with respect to the yoke housing 142 , The zenith encoder arrangement 150 includes a zenith encoder disk 151 and a zenith reading head assembly 152 , The encoder disc 151 is on the payload housing 142 attached, and the reading head arrangement 152 is on the yoke housing 142 attached. The zenith reading head arrangement 152 includes a circuit board on which one or more of the read heads are mounted. Laser light is sent from the read heads and from fine ridge lines on the encoder disk 151 reflected. Reflected light is picked up by the detectors on the encoder read heads and processed to find the angle of the rotating encoder wheel in relation to the rigid read heads.
  • The zenith engine arrangement 155 includes a zenith motor rotor 156 and a zenith motor stator 157 , The zenith motor rotor 156 Includes permanent magnets that are directly attached to the shaft of the payload frame 172 are attached. The zenith motor stator 157 includes field windings that generate a given magnetic field. This magnetic field cooperates with the rotor magnets to produce the desired rotational motion. The zenith motor stator 157 is on the yoke frame 142 attached.
  • The zenith switch plate 165 has one or more switch plates that provide electrical functions required by the zenith components, such as the encoder and the motor. The zenith slip ring arrangement 160 includes an outer part 161 and an inner part 162 , The wire bundle 168 occurs from the outer azimuth slip ring 131 and can transmit energy or signals. Some of the wires of the wire bundle 168 can be directed to connections on the circuit board. In the in 3 the example shown are the wires on the zenith circuit board 165 , on the zenith engine assembly 150 and to the encoder readhead assembly 152 directed. Other wires are to the inner part 162 the slip ring arrangement 160 directed. The inner part 162 is on the yoke frame 142 thus, it fixes and rotates only at the azimuth angle and not at the zenith angle. The outer part 161 is at the payload frame 172 attached and therefore turns both in the zenith and the azimuth angle. The slip ring arrangement 160 is designed to allow electrical contact with a low impedance when the outer part 161 with reference to the inner part 162 rotates.
  • KEY OPTICAL ARRANGEMENT
  • The payload arrangement 170 includes a main optics arrangement 200 and a pattern projector arrangement 300 , as in 4 shown. The main optics arrangement 200 includes an electrical modulator 210 , a laser 215 , Distance processing electronics 220 , a position detector 230 , Beam splitter 240 . 242 ; a two-color beam splitter 244 and an output window 246 , Laser light generated by the laser 215 is sent out, passes through the beam splitter 240 , This beam splitter can be made of glass, as in 4 or it may be a fiber optic beam splitter. The beam splitter 240 transmits part of the laser light 250 and reflects the rest. The beam splitter 240 is needed to transfer the portion of the returning (retroreflected) laser light to the distance processing electronics 220 transferred to. The type of distance measuring system used in 4 is an absolute range finder (ADM) based on intensity modulation and phase measurement techniques. An exemplary ADM of this type is in the U.S. Patent 7352446 described by Bridges and Hoffer. Alternatively, another type of ADM could be used, or the range finder in the main optics assembly 200 could be an interferometer (IFM) rather than an ADM. In the latter case, the electric modulator would 210 not needed, and the processing electronics would be of a different kind. The lasers would be different too. For an IFM, the laser would need to be frequency stabilized at a known wavelength and would need to have a long coherence length. For an ADM, the laser would preferably be capable of modulation at frequencies of at least several GHz. It is also possible IFM and ADM in the main optics arrangement 200 to combine. In this case, a suitable beam splitter would be used to combine the IFM and ADM laser beams on the way out and to separate the laser beams on the way back in.
  • After passing through the beam splitter 240 the laser beam runs 250 to the beam splitter 242 , This beam splitter transmits the majority of the laser light (eg 85%) and reflects the rest (eg 15%). The purpose of the beam splitter 242 lies therein, a portion of the returning (retroreflected) laser light to the position detector 230 to send, as explained below. The laser beam 250 passes through the two-color beam splitter 244 and goes to the output window 246 through which he passes the tracking unit 100 leaves. The purpose of the two-color beam splitter 244 it is the laser beam 250 to allow with the laser beam 370 Being combined in a strip projection arrangement 300 on the way out of the tracking unit 100 was generated. The two-color beam splitter 244 is made of glass and is coated, preferably with several layers of thin dielectric sheet material, to allow transmission of some wavelengths and reflection of other wavelengths. If z. As the laser 215 is a distributed feedback (DFB) laser with a wavelength of 1550 nm and the laser 315 is a diode laser with the wavelength of 635 nm, then the two-color beam splitter would 244 be coated to transmit the 1550 nm laser light and to reflect the 635 nm laser light.
  • The laser beam 550 that's from the tracking unit 100 out is a combination of laser beams 250 and 370 , The laser beam 250 meets the retroreflector 410 , It is desirable that Size of the laser beam 250 to minimize over the measuring range of the follower, to limit the laser beam 250 through the retroreflector 410 which may be a cube-corner retroreflector. To the size of the laser beam 250 to minimize over the measuring range, the profile of the laser beam is shaped as close as possible to a Gaussian function. This results in the smallest possible divergence angle for the propagating laser beam.
  • When the laser beam 250 on the center of the retroreflector 410 meets, the laser beam is on its output path to the tracking unit 100 recycled. When the laser beam 250 not the center of the retroreflector 410 meets, the laser beam to the other side of the retroreflector 410 reflects and returns in parallel, but not coincident with the emerging laser beam 250 back.
  • When the laser light 250 again in the tracking unit 100 through the output window 246 enters, it passes through the two-color beam splitter 244 and wanders to the beam splitter 242 , some of the returned light to the position detector 230 reflected. When the laser emitter 250 the center of the retroreflector 410 meets, the returning laser beam hits the center of the position detector 230 , If the returning laser beam is not the center of the position detector 230 then the returning laser beam does not hit the center of the position detector 230 and an error signal is generated. This error signal activates the azimuth motor arrangement 125 and the zenith engine assembly 155 to the laser beam 250 to the center of the retroreflector 410 to control. This is the laser beam 550 from the tracking unit 100 capable of the movements of the retroreflector 410 to follow. In other words: the laser beam 550 becomes the redroreflector 410 tracked.
  • The position detector 230 may be a position sensitive detector (PSD). Position sensitive detectors may be of the lateral effect or quadrant type. Both can be used, but the lateral effect type produces a voltage output that is more linear with respect to the position of the laser beam that strikes it. For this reason, the lateral effect type of the PSD is preferred. Alternatively, a photosensitive field may be used instead of a PSD. The photosensitive field may, for. B. a CCD or CMOS field. These fields are highly linear and provide a very accurate indication of the position of the returning beam.
  • STRIPE GENERATOR ARRANGEMENT
  • The tracking unit 100 and the power supply / control unit 10 are capable of three degrees of freedom (DOF) of the retroreflector 410 without a fringe projection arrangement 300 to eat. The three degrees of freedom are distance, azimuth angle, and zenith angle to the target, which can be converted to coordinates other than x, y, and z. Three degrees of freedom are enough to allow a measurement of an object with a symmetrical tracking target, such as an SMR, but they are not enough to get the coordinates of a probe tip 470 to find. That's what the system has to do 6 DOF measure.
  • The measurement of 6 DOF is made possible by the combined operation of a strip generator arrangement 300 , a main optics arrangement 200 and a goal 400 , As in 4 - 7 includes a possible embodiment of the strip generator arrangement 300 a laser 315 , a beam expander assembly 320 , an apodiser 330 , a special mirror 340 and a camera arrangement 350 , The beam expander assembly 320 includes a negative lens 322 and a positive lens 324 , The camera arrangement 350 includes a camera 352 and at least one light emitting diode (LED) 354 , A hole is in the special mirror 340 cut to the visibility of the target 400 for the camera 352 and at least one LED 354 to enable. The laser 315 may preferably be a visible laser with a performance that is within the eye safety range, but can be seen when shining against an object. In one embodiment, this laser z. B. a red diode laser with an output power of 39 mW. The laser is selected to have a single mode transversal mode output with a Gaussian profile and a good beam quality factor (eg M 2 <1.1). The laser beam 370 is through the negative lens 322 and the positive lens 324 of the radiation expander 320 Posted. The distance between the negative lens 322 and the positive lens 324 is set to the laser light 370 parallel to align that from the positive lens 324 exit. The laser beam can optionally by folding mirror 360 . 362 be bent to the laser pattern projector 300 make it more compact.
  • Alternatively, it is possible to have one or more cameras in a different arrangement to those in 4 to use. Such as In 17 shown could be two small arrangements 352 symmetric or asymmetric at or near the output window 246 be arranged on the front of the payload assembly, each being provided with at least one LED. Such an arrangement would allow stereoscopic viewing to estimate the distance and angle to the target 400 to enable. In In an alternative embodiment, the cameras may be on the yoke housing 142 be attached.
  • Parallel aligned laser light 370 passes through the Apodiser 330 or another suitable form element which shapes the light into a two-dimensional pattern. For example, in at least one embodiment, the two-dimensional pattern may be a striped pattern or other suitable pattern. The apodizer can be a continuous sound film transparency, which is fixed with an optical element between two glass plates. The laser light, which is the Apodiser 330 has reached a Gaussian shape, which in one embodiment has a diameter of 44 mm. The transmission characteristics of the apodizer are selected to produce optical illumination (optical power per unit area) at the output of the apodizer having particular characteristics described for one embodiment only. The output transmission of an embodiment of the apodizer is in 8th shown. In the in 8th In the embodiment shown, the apodizer is 38 mm on one side and there are 8 strips, each 15 mm in length. In the center of the Apodisers is a dark area with 8 mm diameter. The shape of each of the 8 strips on the apodiser is more or less that of a two-dimensional Gaussian pattern with the width of the strip being larger in one dimension than the other. The shape is not exactly Gaussian along the longitudinal dimension of the strip because a smoothing filter was used to get a smooth transition to near zero at the edges without unduly reducing the width of the Gaussian shape. It is also possible to use other Apodiser patterns and obtain good results.
  • The illumination of the laser beam emerging from the apodizer is in 9 shown. As the laser beam propagates, it changes shape due to the refraction effects. The shape of the laser beam at 30 is in 10 shown.
  • It is also possible to generate the stripe pattern using other methods. One way to create such a pattern is to use a diffractive element. Such elements are routinely used to create a variety of patterns, including lines, boxes, circles, etc. The pattern may be Gaussian along the short axis and nearly Gaussian along the longer axis. This minimizes the divergence of the projected stripes and minimizes the occurrence of Fresnel diffraction waves that can affect the calculated centroid or peak values.
  • Another way to create a pattern is to use a collection of suitable lenses. For example, a stripe pattern having a Gaussian cross-sectional profile may be formed using four cylindrical lenses whose beams are generated and combined using a series of beam splitters and rectangular prisms. The resulting pattern is different from that in the 9 and 10 shown pattern in that the beam does not gently to a minimum in the center of the pattern decreases. The quality of this pattern can basically be made almost as good as those with the Apodiser 300 is reached.
  • AIM
  • Within a goal 400 can be a retro reflector 410 be a cube corner prism made of glass. Such a cube corner prism has three perpendicular faces sharing a common intersection, called the vertex. The top surface of the cube corner prism is coated with an antireflection layer and the three vertical glass sides are coated with a reflective coating, preferably a multilayer thin dielectric film coating. It is possible to use a cube corner prism, which is not made of solid glass, but of three mirrors. At right angles to each other. This type of retroreflector is often referred to as an "open-air cube corner". The advantage of the glass prism over the open-air cube corner prism is that the glass diffracts the laser light inwardly in accordance with Snell's law. As a result, a cube-corner prism has a larger acceptance angle than an open-air cube corner. Another advantage of the glass cube corner is that no additional space is needed for the mirror thickness, which is the position detectors 432 allows closer to the retroreflector 410 to be.
  • The cube corner prism may be made of high index glass, e.g. A refractive index of 1.80 at a wavelength of 1550 nm. One possible example of such a glass is Ohara S TIH53. High index glass has the advantage of bending light, which passes from the air into the glass, closer to the normal plane. As a result, the laser light intersects 250 the front surface of the retroreflector 410 closer to the center. This reduces the limitation of the laser beam through the edges of the cube corner.
  • It is also possible to use other types of retroreflectors such. A cat's eye retroreflector. The cat's eye retroreflector consists of glass components with either spherical or hemispherical shape. It is designed so that laser light entering its front (curved) surface passes through layers of glass such that the light becomes a small spot is brought near the rear surface. The back surface may be coated to reflect very well to return the light to itself. After retracing the light through the glass, the light exits the cat's eye nearly parallel and parallel to the incoming light beam.
  • The position detector arrangement 430 includes the position detectors 432 and optical filters 434 , The position detectors 432 may be linear photosensitive fields. Such photosensitive fields may be CCD or CMOS fields, but CCD fields are more readily available. In one embodiment, the position detectors 432 the e2v model TH7815A. In one possible embodiment, these fields include 4096 pixels, each having 10 microns on one side. The length of the active detector area is 40.96 mm. The height and width of the chip package, including the through-wires, are 50 mm and 10.47 mm, respectively.
  • It is possible to use other types of position detectors rather than linear photosensitive fields. For example, one could form a linear field in the shape of a circle. It would also be possible to use a range field.
  • The optical filter 434 consists of an optical bandpass filter and an optional neutral density filter. The optical bandpass filter passes only through a narrow band of wavelengths (eg, 10-20 nm) that are around the wavelength of the laser light 370 are centered. Other wavelengths are reflected or absorbed. The purpose of the bandpass filter is to prevent unwanted backlighting of the position detector 432 illuminates, adding distortion and noise to the measurements. A bandpass filter may be made by coating glass with a multilayer stack of thin dielectric sheet material. The reflection properties of such filters change with the angle of incidence of the incident light. The filter may be configured to guide the appropriate wavelengths over the entire range of angles of incidence. For example, in one embodiment, the target is able to operate over +/- 45 degrees.
  • The optical filter 434 may further include a neutral density filter. As mentioned above, in at least one embodiment, the fringe pattern is bright enough to be seen by the eye when it encounters a background subject. The light stripe pattern can help a user find the laser beam quickly when the tracking unit 100 the goal 400 not tracking. The position detectors 30 in turn require a relatively small amount of laser energy; these devices are saturated when the laser energy is too high. There are two ways to get around these conflicting requirements. The first way is to increase the energy of the laser beam 370 when the laser beam 250 not on the retroreflector 410 is tracked, and then a subsequent reduction of the energy of the laser beam 370 when the tracking starts. The second way is the arrangement of neutral density filters over the position detectors 432 to the radiation intensity of the laser beam 370 to reduce to a suitable level. This second method has the added benefit of providing background radiation relative to the saturation power of the position detectors 30 to reduce. One possible way to combine bandpass and neutral density functionality in a single filter is to coat neutral density glass with dielectric film layers to obtain the desired bandpass characteristics.
  • Another possible way to reduce the system's sensitivity to background light is to chop the laser beam (by modulating the laser power "on" and "off" at the desired rate) and detecting the laser light at the same rate. This method can lead to a very high backlighting of background light.
  • There are several possible ways, the optical filter 434 to fix. For example, it can be placed directly on the top of each position detector 432 or it can be separated from any photosensitive field by mechanical means. In the latter case, an air gap between the optical filters 434 and the position detectors 432 consist. It is also possible to use the position detectors 432 to coat directly to obtain an optical filtering.
  • The retro reflector 410 , the position detector arrangement 430 and the pen 460 are all rigid to the sensor body 460 assembled. The retro reflector 410 and the position detectors 432 can be held rigidly by a common structural component having a suitable thermal expansion coefficient (CTE). The sensor body 450 may also be attached to this common structural component. The common structural attachment helps to reduce the mechanical movement when bending or to reduce the thermal expansion of the PCB material.
  • The locator mark 480 which is in 5 can be a photogrammetric target, which is characterized by at least one LED 364 is illuminated, or it may be a point light source such as an LED. The purpose of the locator mark 480 is the provision of a Communication between each of the stripes of the laser beam 370 and the cutting areas of the stripes on the position sensors 432A . 432B , If the tracking unit 100 works in a tracking mode, the laser beam becomes 550 centered on the camera 352 held. The locator mark 480 is found on the camera in a position that corresponds to the target orientation; z. B. it is located below the center of the camera 352 if the goal 400 is in the upright position.
  • Some devices may act as alternatives to the locator mark 480 used to identify the strips that the position detectors 432A . 432B to cut. An alternative device is a mechanical beam blocker that selectively illuminates light reaching the various stripes within the pattern projector array 300 hindeit. Another alternative is a tilt sensor located within the target 400 and the tracking unit 100 located. The relative inclination of the target 400 to the tracking unit 100 identifies each strip.
  • Light, which the position detectors 432A . 432B is converted by the detectors into an electrical signal and must be processed electrically to find the peak or center of gravity of the intersecting strips. It must be further processed to the yaw, pitch and roll angle of the target 400 and the coordinates of the probe tip 470 to find. This processing can be done by electronics on the target 400 can be performed, or they can by means with or without wires to the tracking unit 100 the power supply / control unit 10 or the computer 20 be recycled for processing.
  • MESSKONZEPT
  • 11A shows front and side views of the laser beam 250 who who left the cube corner retro reflector 410 at a vertical incidence hit, and the laser beam 370 that's the position sensors 432A . 432B meets at normal incidence. The laser beam 250 hits a peak 414 and also a center 412 on the upper side of the cube corner retroreflector 410 , The laser beam 250 becomes at the vertex 414 by the combined actuation of the position detector 230 and the engine arrangements 125 . 155 kept centered. The laser beam 370 always falls with the laser beam 250 together. In the special case, in 11A is shown, cut the strips of the laser beam 370 an active area 433A of the position detector 432A in three areas, and an active area 433B the rightmost detector 432B in three areas. The number of intersections depends on the roll angle of the target 400 relative to the tracking unit 100 as explained in more detail below.
  • 11B shows the front view and side views of the laser beam 250 who who left the cube corner retro reflector 410 at 45 degrees from the normal incidence hits, and the laser beam 370 that's the position sensors 432A . 432B at 45 degrees from normal incidence. The laser beam 250 is curved inward toward the normal plane as it passes from the air into the glass. In this case, the refractive index of the glass is 1 . 8th so that, by Snell's law, the angle of the laser beam with respect to the normal plane is arcsin (sin (45 °) / 1.8) = 23.1 °. Because the laser beam 370 the position detectors 432A . 432B at an angle of 45 °, the pattern of the laser stripe, when viewed from above, is an ellipse rather than a circle. If the stripes within the laser beam 370 along straight lines, cut the top surface of the retroreflector 410 at one point 416 , Because the laser beams 250 and 370 further inclined from the normal plane, the intersection moves 416 farther from the center 412 the upper surface of the retroreflector 410 path.
  • It is the movement of the point of intersection 416 away from the center 412 It makes possible the inclination and the greed of the target 400 out. This movement can occur when the center of symmetry of the retroreflector 410 outside the plane of the position sensors 432A . 432B is arranged. In the case of the cube-corner retroreflector, the vertex is always below the upper surface of the retroreflector, so this condition is for the in 11A and 11B shown training is observed.
  • 12A and 12B show a goal 1400 , an alternative embodiment that is the same as the target 400 , except that the retro reflector 410 something raised above the level of the position detectors 432A . 432B , is located. The laser beam 250 hits the top surface of the cube corner retroreflector at the same location 416 relative to the center 412 as in the goal 400 , However, as in 12B can be seen, cut the strips of the laser beam 370 the active areas 433A . 433B in other areas than in the destination 400 , Also the effective point of intersection 416 was moved. The side view of 12B shows that the effective intersection 416 by extending the laser beam 250 along its original airway into the glass can be found. The point at which the center of the laser beam 250 the level of the position detectors 432A . 432B cuts, is the effective point of intersection 416 , when viewed from above.
  • The effect of lifting the retroreflector 410 over the plane of the position detectors 432A . 432B is the point of intersection 416 when viewed from above, closer to the midpoint 412 to move. Another effect is the reduction of the Section of strips that the position detectors 432A . 432B to cut. The retro reflector 410 can be raised as high as desired, as long as the stripes of the laser beam 370 not when reaching the position detectors 432A . 432B be locked.
  • By increasing the retroreflector 410 over the plane of the position detectors 432A . 432B For example, it is possible to use commercially available linear CCD arrays to measure pitch and yaw angles over the range of 0-45 degrees. This ability is in 13 shown. The small insert top right in 13 shows the rules used for pitch, roll and yaw angles. The x-axis has the same direction as the position detectors 432A . 432-B , A yaw angle corresponds to a rotation about the x-axis. The pitch and roll angles correspond to the rotations about the y and z axes, respectively.
  • The 11B and 12B show the effect of a yaw rotation from a zero tilt angle. If the goal 400 yawed to the left, the strip separation on the position detector increases 433A and takes off on the position detector 433B , If the goal 400 would be rotated at a tilt angle, the stripes of the laser beam 370 on the position detectors 432A . 432B to move up or down. If the goal 400 would be rotated by the roll angle, the stripes of the laser beam 370 around the intersection 416 rotate. The camera arrangement 350 and the locator mark 480 are used to make a communication between each strip passing through the strip generator 300 and each strip cut area on the position detectors 432A . 432B to achieve.
  • The 13A -K show the general case. Here is the general slope 45 Degree. The tilt direction is the direction from the midpoint 412 to the intersection 416 , The strips are stretched in an elliptical pattern with a major (long) axis along the direction of inclination. A laser stripe is not necessarily on the long axis. The tilt is completely a yaw angle when the tilt direction is perpendicular to the position detectors 432A . 432B is. The tilt is completely an inclination angle when the tilt direction is parallel to the position detectors 432A . 432B is. Tilting is a combination of greed and tilt for other cases. The roll angle is designated by the orientation of each strip with respect to a reference and is based in part on the information provided by the locator spot 480 provided.
  • 13A shows the case in which the target 400 a yaw angle of 45 degrees and an angle of inclination of zero (relative to the incoming laser beam). The laser steel 370 approaches the target 400 in this example from the right, and thus the major axis of the ellipse surrounding the strips is along the y (horizontal) axis. It should be noted that the stripes are the position detector 432A in three areas and the position detector 432B cut in three areas. 13K shows the case in which the target 400 has an inclination angle of 45 degrees and a yaw angle of zero. The laser beam 370 approaches the target 400 from above so that the major axis of the ellipse lies along the z (vertical) axis. Strips still cut every position detector 432A . 432B in three areas, but now the strips are shorter and therefore the cut areas are closer to the ends of the strips.
  • If you go from 13A to 13K , the tilt direction changes gradually by 10 degrees. This series of figures shows that there are always at least two pairs of opposite stripes that are undoubtedly on a single spot 416 demonstrate. This condition is sufficient for the inclination and yaw angles of the target 400 to find.
  • MEASURING METHOD
  • The measurement concept described so far explains the general method and apparatus that allow measurements of six degrees of freedom. Some possible computer methods that can be used are described.
  • Defined are three angles Phi, Theta, and Roll that completely limit the position of the target relative to the laser beam coming from the laser imager. First, the z-axis is defined as the axis perpendicular to the plane and the position detectors 432A . 432B stops, and the x-axis is considered along the direction of the position detectors 432A . 432B Are defined. The y-axis is perpendicular to the x and z axes. The angles Theta and Phi are defined in the usual way with respect to the laser beam in a spherical coordinate system. Theta is the angle from the z-axis to the laser beam, and Phi is the angle from the x-axis to the projection of the laser beam onto the xy plane. Basically, it is assumed that the laser beam has a Phi of 0 degrees when viewed from the top of a two-dimensional figure 11 - 13 arrives. A phi of +90, +180, and +270 degrees indicates the arrival of the laser beam from the right, bottom, and left, respectively. The roll angle is taken with reference to a particular reference strip emitted by the laser imager. Suppose that z. B. the sensor 400 and the tracking unit 100 as in 1 are also assumed that the laser stripe in the in 8th be shown sent orientation. If the Apodiserstreifen in the upper right side in 8th when the reference strip is selected, a roll angle for that strip can be established with respect to the angle Phi = 0 degrees. In this case, since the reference strip is rotated by 22.5 degrees with respect to Phi = 0 degrees, one could say that the roll angle for the light emanating from the apodizer is 22.5 degrees. If the probe was tilted 45 degrees with respect to this home position, the new roll angle would be 22.5 + 45 degrees = 67.5 degrees. In this way, the roll angle can be any value between 0 and 360 degrees.
  • Since the shape of the laser beam as it propagates, as in 9 and 10 shown, it is necessary, this for the change of the pattern of stripes with the position detectors 432A . 432B to be observed. Furthermore, the stripes are not completely uniform, and so the exact cutting pattern of the laser beam with the stripes depends on the exact shape of the stripes. In practice, therefore, one can see the patterns on the position detector 432A . 432B , at different distances and different tilt angles (phi, theta and roll) were detected, scan.
  • To optimize the precision of the measurement, the probe tip can 470 directly below the retroreflector 410 to be ordered. A numerical analysis became due to the signal-to-noise ratio of the position detectors 432A . 432B and the variability of the projected laser pattern 370 carried out. 14 shows the resulting errors in microns for angles of phi and theta from 0 to 45 degrees. The maximum error is in this case 28 Micrometers. This little mistake is acceptable in this area.
  • COMPUTER METHOD
  • 15 shows an exemplary method for calculating the signature of the laser pattern on the position detectors 432A . 432B , The signature is defined as the position of up to six mountains and valleys on the two position detectors. Each of these mountains is connected by a certain strip, and each of these valleys falls between two mountains. The signature also provides a subpixel location for the intersection of the center of each mountain or valley in the field.
  • The first computer steps are the same for the first position detector 432A and the second position detector 432B , These steps are accumulation, lowpass, decimation, differential quotient taking, zero-crossing finding, small mountain valleys dropping, and parabola fitting. These calculations may be performed with a field programmable gate array (FPGA), a digital signal processor (DSP), a microprocessor, or a computer.
  • Each position sensor is illuminated by a laser beam whose power and duty cycle can be adjustable, the illumination being performed for a certain integration time, which may also be adjustable. The adjustment of the laser power or the operating cycles takes place within the laser imager. The adjustment in the integration time takes place within the linear field by setting the "electronic closing time". In any case, the goal is to provide enough light for a long enough time to get a good signal to the noise ratio without saturating the detectors.
  • Each set of pixel samples is collected at high speed. The samples are accumulated as in 15 shown by collecting and pooling pixel value sets together. As an example, 4096 pixel values may be from the position detectors 432A . 432B collected at 1600 frames per second and averaged into groups of 8 frames to obtain an effective data collection rate for the 4096 pixels of 200 Hz.
  • The accumulated data is next filtered and decimated. Both methods can be performed together through a digital filter. The simplest type of filtering averages some adjacent channels, but many filtering techniques are available. The decimation removes some samples to simplify the calculation in the later stages. As an example, the data may be decimated to one-eighth of the original number of data points.
  • Four steps are taken to extract the mountains and valleys from the data. First, the differences (differential quotients) between adjacent pixels are calculated. Second, the data is analyzed to find the zero crossings. These zero crossings represent the potential mountains and valleys. Third, the too small mountains and valleys are dropped. These mountains and valleys can be very noisy or they can just be too small to be interesting. Fourth, a parabola is fitted into the data near the mountain or valley. This allows the localization of mountains and valleys with sub-pixel resolution.
  • The position of the locator spot 480 is used to get an approximate roll angle as a starting position for later calculations. The position of the locator spot 480 is through the camera 352 not known exactly enough to get the exact roll angle.
  • The parabolic peaks and valleys from the two position detectors are provided along with the approximate roll angle from the locator mark 480 , and this information is used by the computing device to locate each mountain on the position detectors 432A . 432B To assign a specific laser beam.
  • The resulting signature includes the mapping of each stripe and the subpixel values of the position detectors 432A . 432B , As in 16 shown, the measured signature is assigned to a COMPARE computer function. The COMPARE computer function compares the measured and theoretical signature values according to a method which will now be explained.
  • The entire iterative calculation that is in 16 is shown, is fed with phi, theta and roll values, which are available from a previous calculation. This previous calculation may be from the last measured orientation of the probe 400 or provided by an original approximate calculation.
  • An in 16 The PASS procedure shown now makes iterative adjustments (typically two or three iterations) to find the values for theta, phi, and roll that result in the best fit of the measured and theoretical signatures. The new Phi, Theta and Roll become the in 16 shown profile table, along with the known distance to the target as measured by the laser imager. In addition, compensation data representing the geometric relationships of the detectors and the retroreflector on the target 400 deploy, sent to the profile table. From this data, an interjointed value can be seen, which allows for newer, more accurate estimates of the positions of mountains and valleys. This more accurate estimate is called a theoretical signature.
  • The process continues until the difference of the measured and theoretical signatures is small enough to meet the convergence criteria of the MATCH PROCESS. At this point, the best estimated values for Phi, Theta, and Roll are used to calculate the position of the probe tip. This calculation takes into account the length and geometry of the pen and. the feeler with respect to the rest of the target 400 ,
  • TARGET CAMERA
  • The camera arrangement 350 includes the camera 352 and at least one light emitting diode (LED) 354 , As explained above, the camera arrangement in conjunction with the locator spot 480 used to identify each of the strips, the position sensors 432 cuts. In addition, the camera arrangement 350 used to improve the operation of the multi-purpose laser tracker, no matter whether three or six degrees of freedom are measured.
  • For general purpose laser tracking applications, the LEDs typically flash repeatedly. Light from the LEDs bounces off the retroreflectors and returns to a nearby camera. The camera image shows the normal scene as well as each flashing of the retroreflectors along with the LEDs. Based on these flash patterns, the user can quickly know the number and location of the retroreflectors.
  • One advantage of the camera is that it can speed up the recording of targets. However, in present-day followers, the camera (if present) is remote from the follower's optical axis. The resulting parallax makes it impossible for the tracker to immediately drive to the correct angle for the selected retroreflector.
  • The camera arrangement 350 overcomes this problem by attaching the camera 352 on the optical axis of the follower or the optical axis of the pattern projector assembly, which eliminates the parallax. Another way to overcome this problem is to use two cameras 352 which are arranged equidistantly or symmetrically on each side or about the optical axis of the follower or the optical axis of the pattern projector arrangement, as shown in FIG 17 seen. In 17 are the cameras 352 on each page of the output window 246 positioned. LEDs 354 are near the cameras 352 provided to complete the camera arrangement. In this case triangulation can be used to find the position of the target. In another embodiment, it is not necessary for the cameras to be positioned symmetrically with respect to the optical axis. It is possible to calculate the three-dimensional position of a retroreflector as long as the position of the two cameras in the follower reference frame and the two angles measured by each of the two cameras are known.
  • The camera arrangement 350 can control any desired retroreflector. The user can do this by selecting the desired SMR on a computer screen. Alternatively, the computer can be set to automatically detect an SMR as it is brought into view. This feature is most useful when there is only one SMR.
  • One common use of targeting cameras is to employ a monitoring measurement for a number of retroreflector targets. With conventional trackers will do this by selecting one SMR at a time on the computer screen and then searching with the tracker to find each destination. The laser beam may be located near the target at the start of the measurement. With an in-camera camera arrangement 350 it is possible to automatically and quickly locate any retroreflector in the environment and automatically generate a surveillance pattern. This can save considerable time, especially if the goals are difficult to achieve. A good example of such a time saving is the joining of two fuselage sections of an aircraft. One method of performing this connection is to attach a number of small retroreflector targets to the two body sections, which are in many cases locations that are not easily accessible. Fully automated monitoring greatly simplifies this process.
  • While the above description refers to a particular embodiment in the present. It will be understood that many modifications can be made without departing from its spirit. The appended claims are intended to cover such modifications as would come within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • The presently disclosed embodiments are therefore to be considered in all aspects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalence thereof Claims are therefore intended to be embraced.
  • QUOTES INCLUDE IN THE DESCRIPTION
  • This list of the documents listed by the applicant has been generated automatically and is included solely for the better information of the reader. The list is not part of the German patent or utility model application. The DPMA assumes no liability for any errors or omissions.
  • Cited patent literature
    • US 4790651 [0002]
    • US 4714339 [0002]
    • US 5973788 [0006]
    • US 6166809 [0006]
    • US 7230689 [0007, 0008]
    • US 5267014 [0009]
    • US 7312862 [0010]
    • US 7352446 [0051]

Claims (49)

  1. A laser tracking system for measuring six degrees of freedom, the system comprising: a tracking unit comprising: a payload assembly rotatable about at least one axis, the payload assembly comprising: a main optical arrangement, which is structured to emit a first laser beam, and a pattern projector assembly arranged to emit a second laser beam shaped as a two-dimensional pattern, and a goal, encompassing a retro reflector; and a position sensor array provided near the retroreflector; wherein a center of symmetry of the retroreflector is provided on a plane other than a plane of the position sensor array.
  2. The laser tracking system of claim 1, wherein the main optics assembly further comprises: a first laser arranged to emit the first laser beam; Distance processing electronics; a first beam splitter arranged to align at least a portion of a retroreflected laser beam with the distance processing electronics; a position detector; and a second beam splitter arranged to align at least a portion of the retroreflected laser beam with the position detector.
  3. The laser tracking system of claim 1, wherein the pattern projector assembly further comprises: a second laser arranged to emit the second laser beam; a beam expander arranged to expand the second laser beam; and a shaping element, which is divided into the two-dimensional pattern for forming the expanded second laser beam.
  4. A laser tracking system according to claim 3, wherein the molding element comprises an apodiser.
  5. A laser tracking system according to claim 4, wherein the apodizer comprises a continuous clay layer transparency affixed with optical cement between two glass plates.
  6. A laser tracking system according to claim 3, wherein the molding element comprises a diffractive element.
  7. The laser tracking system of claim 3, wherein the molding element comprises a plurality of lenses, a plurality of beam splitters, and a plurality of prisms.
  8. The laser tracking system of claim 3, wherein the two-dimensional pattern comprises a stripe pattern.
  9. The laser tracking system of claim 1, wherein the tracking unit further comprises: an azimuth assembly mounted on a stand; and a zenith assembly, which is fastened on the azimuth assembly and is rotatable about an azimuth axis; wherein the payload assembly is mounted on the zenith assembly and is rotatable about a zenith axis; wherein the azimuth assembly comprises an azimuth motor assembly arranged to rotate the zenith assembly about the azimuth axis, and an azimuth encoder assembly arranged to measure a rotation angle of the zenith assembly; and the zenith motor assembly comprising a zenith motor assembly arranged to rotate the payload assembly about the zenith axis and a zenith encoder assembly arranged to measure a rotational angle of the payload assembly.
  10. The laser tracking system of claim 9, wherein the tracking unit further comprises: a position detector arranged such that when a retroreflected laser beam hits the position detector in a position away from a predetermined position, an error signal is generated to control the azimuth motor assembly and the zenit motor assembly for rotating the payload assembly, such that the first laser beam is on Center of the retroreflector meets.
  11. The laser tracking system of claim 3, wherein the pattern projector assembly further comprises a camera assembly including a camera and at least one light emitting diode, the camera assembly being provided on an optical axis of the pattern projector assembly.
  12. The laser tracking system of claim 3, wherein the pattern projector assembly further comprises a plurality of camera assemblies, each camera assembly comprising a camera and at least one light emitting diode.
  13. The laser tracking system of claim 11, wherein the target further comprises a location mark.
  14. The laser tracking system of claim 1, wherein the retroreflector comprises a cube corner retroreflector.
  15. Laser tracking system according to claim 1, wherein the retroreflector and the Position detector assembly are rigidly connected to a common structural component.
  16. The laser tracking system of claim 1, wherein the target further comprises a probe.
  17. A pattern projector assembly for use in a laser tracking system for measuring six degrees of freedom, the pattern projector assembly comprising: a laser arranged to emit a laser beam; a beam expander arranged to expand the second laser beam; and a mold element which is divided into a two-dimensional pattern for molding the expanded second laser beam.
  18. The pattern projecting assembly of claim 17, wherein the forming element comprises an apodiser.
  19. The pattern projector assembly of claim 18, wherein the apodizer comprises a continuous clay layer transparency affixed with optical cement between two glass plates.
  20. The pattern projector assembly of claim 17, wherein the form member comprises a diffractive element.
  21. The pattern projector assembly of claim 17, wherein the molding element comprises a plurality of lenses, a plurality of beam splitters, and a plurality of prisms.
  22. The pattern projector assembly of claim 17, wherein the two-dimensional pattern comprises a stripe pattern.
  23. The pattern projector assembly of claim 17, wherein the pattern projector assembly further comprises a camera assembly including a camera and at least one light emitting diode, the camera assembly being provided on an optical axis of the pattern projector assembly.
  24. The pattern projector assembly of claim 17, wherein the pattern projector assembly further comprises a plurality of camera assemblies, each camera assembly comprising a camera and at least one light emitting diode.
  25. A target for use with a laser tracking system for measuring six degrees of freedom, the target comprising: a retro reflector; and a position sensor array provided near the retroreflector; wherein a center of symmetry of the retroreflector is provided on a plane other than a plane of the position sensor array.
  26. The target of claim 25, further comprising a position patch.
  27. The aim of claim 25, wherein the retroreflector comprises a cube-corner retroreflector.
  28. The aim of claim 25, wherein the retroreflector and the position detector assembly are rigidly connected to a common structural component.
  29. The aim of claim 25, wherein the target further comprises a probe.
  30. A method of measuring an orientation of a target, the method comprising: Provision of the goal, comprising a retro reflector; and a position sensor arrangement provided near the retroreflector, wherein a center of symmetry of the retroreflector is provided on a plane other than a plane of the position sensor arrangement; Illuminating the target with a laser beam shaped into a two-dimensional pattern; Taking a position of the two-dimensional pattern on the position sensor array to produce a measured signature value of the pattern orientation; iteratively comparing the measured signature value with a theoretical signature value; Calculating an orientation of the target from the measured signature value when a difference between the measured signature value and the theoretical signature value satisfies a convergence criterion.
  31. The method of claim 30, wherein the two-dimensional pattern is a striped pattern emitted from a center; and the position sensor arrangement comprises at least two linear position-sensitive detectors or photosensitive fields.
  32. The method of claim 31, wherein the at least two photosensitive fields comprise a plurality of pixels; and capturing a position of the two-dimensional pattern comprises: accumulating a sample pixel set by repeatedly collecting a pixel value set, and averaging the pixel values for each of the plurality of pixels; Filtering the accumulated pixel sample sets; Decimation of accumulated pixel sample sets; Calculating a differential quotient between adjacent pixels; Identifying zero crossings in the differential quotient to identify potential peaks and valleys; Removing mountains and valleys from consideration that are less than a predetermined threshold; and fitting a parabola to the data points near the remaining mountains and valleys.
  33. The laser tracking system of claim 1, wherein the position sensor assembly comprises: a position sensitive detector or a photosensitive array; and an optical filter provided on the photosensitive field.
  34. The laser tracking system of claim 33, wherein the position sensor assembly comprises: at least two position sensitive detectors or photosensitive fields.
  35. The laser tracking system of claim 33, wherein the photosensitive array is a CCD or CMOS array.
  36. The laser tracking system of claim 34, wherein said at least two position sensitive detectors or photosensitive fields are linear arrays.
  37. The laser tracking system of claim 33, wherein the optical filter comprises an optical bandpass filter and a neutral density filter.
  38. The laser tracking system of claim 25, wherein the position sensor assembly comprises: a position sensitive detector or a photosensitive array; and an optical filter provided on the photosensitive field.
  39. The aim of claim 38, wherein the position sensor arrangement comprises at least two position sensitive detectors or photosensitive fields.
  40. The target of claim 38, wherein the photosensitive field is a CCD or CMOS array.
  41. An object according to claim 39, wherein said at least two position sensitive detectors or photosensitive fields are linear arrays.
  42. The target of claim 38, wherein the optical filter comprises an optical bandpass filter and a neutral density filter.
  43. The laser tracking system of claim 1, further comprising electronics that is structured to record a position of the two-dimensional pattern on the position sensor array to produce a measured signature value of the pattern orientation; iteratively comparing the measured signature value with a theoretical signature value; calculate an orientation of the target from the measured signature value when a difference between the measured signature value and the theoretical signature value satisfies a convergence criterion.
  44. The laser tracking system of claim 43, wherein the two-dimensional pattern is a striped pattern emitted from a center; and the position sensor arrangement comprises at least two linear position-sensitive detectors or photosensitive fields.
  45. The laser tracking system of claim 44, wherein the at least two photosensitive fields comprise a plurality of pixels; and the electronics are further broken down to: accumulate a sample pixel set by repeatedly collecting a pixel value set and averaging the pixel values for each of the plurality of pixels; to filter the accumulated pixel sample set; to decimate the accumulated pixel sample set; calculate a differential quotient between adjacent pixels; Identify zero crossings in the differential quotient to identify potential mountains and valleys; Remove mountains and valleys from consideration that are less than a predetermined threshold; and fitting a parabola to the data points near the remaining mountains and valleys.
  46. Laser tracking system comprising: a tracking unit comprising: a payload assembly rotatable about at least one axis, the payload assembly comprising: a main optical assembly arranged to emit a first laser beam; and at least two camera arrangements, each camera arrangement comprising a camera and at least one light-emitting diode.
  47. Laser tracking system according to claim 46, wherein the at least two cameras are arranged symmetrically about an optical axis of the payload arrangement.
  48. The laser tracking system of claim 46, wherein the at least two cameras are near one Output window of the payload arrangement are arranged.
  49. The laser tracking system of claim 46, further comprising: a target with a retroreflector; wherein the at least two cameras are arranged to provide a stereoscopic view of the target to provide an estimate of the distance and the angle to the target.
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